Saturday, November 11, 2006

O, it was a painful year

So why do I revisit this clip? Because I can't look away. It's just funny. To hear George Allen defend the "macaca" incident, you'd think he was one of the original Freedom Riders. Happily, Allen paid for his bigotry. The opponents of Harold Ford, down in my native Tennessee, did not pay for theirs.

Neither did the promoters of Wisconsin's hateful same-sex marriage ban. Now that a little time has passed, I find myself feeling more angry about it, not less. Except when I feel simply hurt and humiliated.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Funny lady

Read my review on the Daily Page of last night's performance by Margaret Cho.
Good word

"Republicans should feel relieved: Considering that in November 1942, 11 months after war was thrust upon America, President Franklin Roosevelt's party lost 45 House and nine Senate seats (there were then just 96 senators), Tuesday's losses were not excessive punishment for the party that has presided over what is arguably the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history."

-- George Will

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good word

"While once all the best gay men were closeted, now the only adults you find in the closet are the fearful, the pathetic and the hypocritical."

-- Dan Savage
Well, that was close

Or not. Look at how Wisconsinites voted on the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Thanks for the love, Wisconsinites!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Love the Rockettes


Sweet tunes

As I have noted before, dining at the local outlet of the Cracker Barrel fills me with guilt and dread. But we were in the neighborhood last night, and it was suppertime, and salt-cured country ham is, well, it's really good. So in we went.

And I wanted to mention: One thing I didn't note in that previous blog entry is that the house music at Cracker Barrel is excellent, if old-school country is your thing. Over our biscuits and gravy we heard: Bill Monroe, "Uncle Pen"; Jim Reeves, "He'll Have to Go"; Faron Young, "Occasional Wife"; Patsy Cline, "San Antonio Rose"; and many others I am forgetting.

We also heard Martina McBride's 1995 hit "Wild Angels," about which I was less excited.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Geek on board

I have long been intrigued by Linux, the open-source operating system that is, in some circles, a totem of faith. My curiosity never carried me very far, though. Over the years I have used boot CDs to briefly start Linux on various computers, at which point I have gazed at the graphical interface, which looks much like Microsoft Windows; clicked around a bit; shrugged; and then gotten back to playing Minesweeper.

Recently, however, I unearthed an ancient computer of mine, a Hewlett-Packard that seemed miraculously speedy when I bought it in 1995. Ereck and I had been in need of another computer, and I wanted to see if this one was, by any definition, fast enough to suit our purposes. It wasn't, but fooling around with Windows on the old HP reminded me that Linux is designed to run on even the slowest computers. Perhaps I could use this one to start educating myself about Linux, just because.

So I installed a copy of Debian, the highly touted version of Linux that is available for free on the Web. And it worked, but slowly. Still, getting substantively acquainted with Linux in this way was exhilirating, and doing so reminded me that some of my earliest computing experiences were with Unix, the commercial operating system that is closely related to Linux. When I was in college, in the early 1990s, my university provided e-mail and other network services via Unix accounts, which we accessed using dumb terminals in the library.

I already had some facility, then, with the relevant commands and directory structures and so forth, and running Linux on even that desperately slow HP whetted my appetite. So last week I responded to a classified ad and paid $35 for a somewhat newer Dell machine. I performed a bit of maintenance on it (the power button was sticky and needed WD-40) and plugged in an Ethernet cable, and soon I was happily installing Linux all over again. This computer is actually usable, however -- I'm blogging from it now -- and I am having lots of fun getting programs to work on it, Firefox and Java and AOL Instant Messenger. Yes, I am going to no small amount of trouble to do what I already can do with ease on my Windows computer.

Next month, I'm told, the newest version of Debian Linux will be released. (Did you know versions of Debian Linux are named for characters in the animated Toy Story films? You do now. The current release is named Sarge, and the next one will be called Etch.) And when that happens, I suspect I will spend days reinstalling everything one more time. And I will have lots of fun doing so. Really, I will.